Oh to be the daughter of a dental surgeon in 20th century Prague!
Like circus-goers marveling at a heap of bones in the straw, TikTokkers have been come upon the mortified works of Franz Kafka and found themselves overcome with *checks notes* lust.
“Kafka is my bare minimum and I won’t date a man until he is Kafka,” wrote one young TikTokker, per The Spectator. “Knowing that Kafka died thinking he was a failure, wanting for all of his work to be burned, hurts me more than anything,” wrote another.
There are TikToks of girls mooning over the dead Czech, and pouring his cordial regards to Milena Jesenská (Letters to Milena), his translator and paramour, over their thirsty faces.
In fairness to those who have come upon Kafka’s writings on alienation, self-loathing, and longing and thought, There is no other man for me, the lad does know how to get a girl hot under the collar using only the alphabet. To Milena, he wrote, “I wanted to read to you in Czech because, after all, you do belong in that language, because only there can Milena be found in her entirety.”
To be known! To be read! It is a little hot.
Still, we must ask if the man who wrote of the limits of his geniality, “When I have behaved humanly for a few hours, as today with Max and later at Baum’s, it’s enough to make me haughty before bedtime,” just how haught that really is. Kafka was tortured by the relationship with his father, and suffered what we understand today as a kind of body dysmorphia. He was frustrated by his work (see: The Trial), as the Franzgirls(? Kafkaites?) note, and unable to find satisfaction while here as a person and not a text.
But maybe you’re into that.
I will never forget how I felt when I read it for the first time #franzkafka #kafka #lettertohisfather #fyp #literature #briefandenvater #fyp #foryoupage #booktok #classicliterature #relatable #letterstomilena #themetamorphosis
The question I have about parasocial relationships is whether you love the person onto whom you project the fantasies (“we are going to love each other without scruples”), or whether you’re beaming a level of comprehension back onto your own intellect and engaging in a kind of self-love, in which case these girls deserve a B.A. in postmodern lit.
Is it strange for a man in a bowler hat to be the object of your affections? To crush on the idea of a man grappling with his tiny stick arms to lower his thorax over your body? Perhaps, but let us praise our boots that people are not crushing on Jeffrey Dahmer.
[H/T: The Spectator]